Green Living Project to feature global/local short films at San Francisco Film Premiere

the green living project at san francisco film premiereThe Green Living Project will be showcasing a new lineup of local and global short films at the 2nd annual San Francisco Film Premiere. The event will take place on October 22, 2011, from 6PM-9PM at Hub SoMa.

The Green Living Project has created over 60 films from 17 countries across Latin America, North America, and Africa. This event will feature their most popular projects dealing with topics of sustainability, such as wildlife conservation, community development, sustainable travel, and more. Not only is this event a great way to educate yourself and experience new places, it’s also a chance to network and socialize with like-minded individuals and learn ways that you can personally get involved in the Green Living Project’s cause.

Tickets cost $12 at the door ($10 if you have a student ID) with a portion of all the proceeds going to one of the featured films at the event (to be voted on by attendees).

Can’t make the San Francisco Film Premiere? You’ll have another chance to see the project showcase on December 8, 2011, in Los Angeles, California.

Kenya attempts to reconcile wildlife and people

Kenya
Two recent articles in the Nairobi Star highlight the Kenyan government’s efforts to preserve wildlife while keeping the human population happy.

Kenya has always been a top safari destination and tourism is a major source of hard currency. Unfortunately, tensions between people and wildlife are heightening in Kenya and all over Africa due to deforestation and population pressures. Earlier this month, elephants broke out of Tsavo West National Park, destroying crops and scaring villagers.

The Star reports that 490 new rangers in the Kenya Wildlife Service will be stationed around the country, assisted by community scouts who will act as liaisons between the service and locals. The Kenya Wildlife Service has erected 1,300 km (807 miles) of electric fences to keep wildlife out of farmers’ fields.

Meanwhile, the government said it’s cracking down on the illegal wildlife trade, although the source for the article, Ministry of Wildlife official Mohamed wa-Mwacha, was a wee bit vague as to just how that’s being done. He recently ran a workshop on improving monitoring of the trade. He and his colleagues face a big task. There’s a huge demand for rare animals and animals parts, as you can see by the regular posts here on Gadling about poaching and smuggling, and an organized international network of smugglers.

Hopefully the bad guys will get locked up, the good guys can plant their crops in peace, and the Kenya’s precious (and profitable) wildlife will be allowed to thrive.

[Photo of kid riding tortoise at Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy courtesy Chuckupd via Wikimedia Commons]

Elephants break out of Tsavo West National Park, locals go into hiding

elephants, elephant, Kenya
More than 500 elephants strayed out of Tsavo West National Park in Kenya, destroying crops and scaring villagers before being herded back onto park property, the Nairobi Star reports.

The elephants were simply grazing and looking for water, park officials say, but that doesn’t reassure villagers who saw their fields trampled. The elephants wandered through five villages and there are reports that they attacked people, although these haven’t been confirmed. Many people hid for days indoors until Kenya’s Problem Animal Control Unit took care of the problem.

Locals are complaining of threats to their livelihood. Many farmers live in poverty and one ruined crop can be disastrous. Park warden Samuel Rukaria told them they should invest in tourism businesses to cash in on the hugely popular park in their back yard. Not bad advice for someone with capital and a knowledge of the tourism business, but it’s unrealistic to expect everyone in the region to be able to do this. This story is just another example of how difficult it is to reconcile the needs of tourists and wildlife to those of local residents. With Africa’s expanding population putting ever more pressure on parks and game reserves, incidents like this will only become more common.

[Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons]

Mountain gorillas making a comeback

gorilla, gorillas, mountain gorilla, mountain gorillas
In the latest in a spate of good news about wildlife conservation in Africa, BBC Earth reports that mountain gorillas have increased their numbers on Virunga Massif, their core habitat stretching across Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. From a population of only 250 thirty years ago, their population has almost doubled to 480 today. Another 302 live in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park .

The rise is attributed to increased cooperation between the three countries to protect the gorillas and stop poachers.

Safaris to see mountain gorillas have become increasingly popular with adventure travelers. Uganda has expanded its gorilla safaris in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Rwanda is also offering safaris to see the gentle giants.

African nations are getting better at preserving their wildlife. Namibia and Zimbabwe are clamping down on poaching and last year we reported how Niger has pulled a unique subspecies of giraffe from extinction.

[Photo courtesy user KMRA via Wikimedia Commons]

One in five vertebrates face extinction


The bad news: One in five vertebrates could go extinct within our lifetime, and the number may rise even higher than that.

The good news: It would be a lot worse if it weren’t for conservation efforts.

That’s the verdict of a global study of 25,000 threatened vertebrate species presented to the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, in Nagoya, Japan. It found mammals, amphibians, and birds are especially hard hit, with fifty species a day sliding closer to extinction. The main culprits are logging, agriculture, hunting, and alien species.

Yet conservation efforts are saving some animals. The white rhino, like the ones pictured above, was almost extinct a hundred years ago but is now the most common rhino in Africa and its status has been upped to Near Threatened, meaning that while it still needs to be watched, it’s not in any immediate danger. Here’s where ecotourism comes in handy. For example, Niger is hoping to cash in on safari tours by helping a unique subspecies of giraffe, bringing the population from fifty to two hundred in just a decade. Countries where the white rhinos roam are also pushing ecotourism and safaris.

Another success story is the giant marine reserve created in the South Pacific a few years back. This 73,800 square-mile reserve is one of the world’s largest and was created by Kiribati, one of the world’s smallest countries. If tiny island nations and poverty-ridden countries can help out their animals, one has to wonder why any species in the First World are threatened at all. Major food sources like tuna face extinction and even mythical beasts like the Loch Ness Monster may be extinct. When even our legends are dying out, you know we’re in trouble.

[Photo courtesy Joachim Huber]